Closer Ryan Brewer (Martinsville, Va./Franklin County) saved one game before winning the second, and freshman Corey Willis (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax) hit a walk-off homerun to fuel Eastern Mennonite to a sweep of Hampden-Sydney Saturday afternoon in Harrisonburg.
EMU's baseball men broke a 13-game losing streak with the wins before the biggest home crowd of the year on Alumni Recognition Day.
The Royals improve to 13-23 with the wins and stay alive in the race for an ODAC Tournament berth at 4-13. The men need to win all three of their remaining games to even stay in the picture, but the door is open for them with home games this week against Bridgewater (7-12 ODAC) on Tuesday followed by two against Lynchburg (7-11 ODAC) on Saturday. Game time against BC is set for 4:00pm.
For now, Eastern Mennonite will enjoy their first wins in nearly a month.
EMU 5, Hampden-Sydney 4
The Royals made a big fifth inning stick for the win in the opener.
EMU took advantage of an unearned run in the third to get on the board first, before the Tigers pieced together four hits to jump ahead 2-1 in the fourth.
Daniel Scott (Moneta, Va./Staunton River) and Damon Frazier (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) started the fifth with back-to-back singles and the Royals were in business. The first run scored on a bases loaded passed ball, and Frazier craftily came in on short fly ball that Hampden-Sydney's second baseman caught with his back to the infield. Brendon Salladay (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) and Billy Quinn (Ashburn, Va./Stone Bridge) each added an RBI single to left as the men blew open a 5-2 cushion.
Frazier then hit his stride on the mound, as the big cat allowed just one baserunner over the next two innings. With two outs in the eight, the Tigers put together back-to-back extra base hits to bring in two runs and chase Frazier. Brewer entered on the mound and snagged a line drive comebacker to get out of the inning.
EMU's junior closer then finished his fifth save with a harmless fly ball and two grounders to short, closing the 5-4 win.
The Royals offense put together eight hits with six walks. Quinn led the way, batting 2-3 with a walk and RBI. Scott hit and pair of singles and John Judy (Shanks, W.V./Hampshire) walked twice.
Frazier finished with a line of four runs over 7.2 innings to earn his second win.
EMU 2, Hampden-Sydney 1 – 10 innings
The nightcap was a fantastic pitcher's duel and the lowest-scoring game at the EMU Baseball Field since 2015.
The men started strong, with Scott hitting a one-out triple to the gap in right center. Frazier quickly followed with a single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Wilcher (Staunton, Va./Buffalo Gap) walked in the next inning, and made his way to third on an errant throw after stealing second base. But he was gunned down at home to end the inning, trying to score on Quinn's fly ball to center.
The Tigers scored their lone run in the third, putting together three straight hits with two outs. The second hit took a tough bounce down the third base line, while the final RBI single hit second base to keep Quinn from making a play from shortstop.
Starter Bailey Hall (Daleville, Va./James River) pitched four scoreless frames after that, scattering eight hits over his seven innings of work.
Reliever Tristan Childress (Waynesboro, Va./Waynesboro) gave up back-to-back singles to open the eighth, but he and Tyler Campbell (Luray, Va./Luray) combined for three straight outs to leave the runners on first and second, keeping the score knotted at 1-1.
Frazier singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but a grounder to short turned into an inning-ending double play, sending the game to extra innings.
The Royals turned their own GDP in the top of the tenth, and then Willis ended it with a one-out shot over the wall in left field. The walk-off was the freshman's first collegiate homerun.
EMU managed just five hits in the game, including none from the second through the eighth innings, but they got the clutch swings at the right times.
Frazier was 2-3 with a walk and RBI. Scott, Lee and Willis had the only other hits.
Outside of Willis' homerun, the story was the pitching staff. Brewer worked the ninth and tenth to cap a day where he finished both ends of the doubleheader, throwing a combined 3.1 scoreless innings. Hall lowered his ERA to 4.05 with his quality seven-inning no-decision, while Childress and Campbell combined for the scoreless eighth.
Alumni Recognition Day
The day started with a reception for alumni of EMU's baseball program, and short ceremony beforehand to dedicate the renovations to the baseball facility. Hall of Honor member Daryl Lambert, one of only two baseball players to also have their jersey retired, threw out the first pitch.
More than 40 former players and coaches were also recognized on the field in between games.